Teaching Philosophy

As an educator, designer, and learner, Trevor Embury is committed to the potential of critical design pedagogy, which seeks to understand how knowledge and power shape design ideas and practices. It is an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach that weaves together philosophical engagement, informed critical thinking, and an interest in where Design needs to become. Inspired by the works of scholars such as Anne-Marie Willis, Leroy Little Bear, Ezio Manzini, bell hooks, and Clive Dilnot, critical design pedagogy empowers individuals to unpack the function of Design in society, giving rise to a progressive praxis for (re)shaping and (re)making.
    Central to this approach is the recognition of individuals as active participants in their educational journey. Rather than being mere recipients of information, he understands the importance of guiding learning as a quest for (re)discovery, (re)imagination, and (re)learning. As a result, the quest becomes inherently collaborative, extending not only the field of action but also the field of possibilities.
    His teaching methods range from incorporating Socratic dialogue techniques to structuring lessons and projects around inquiry-based, open-ended themes or prompts. Here, individuals pose questions and conduct inquiries to produce new understandings through engagement with a broad range of materials, literature, techniques, and hands-on making.
    By adopting pluralistic perspectives that blend Indigenous and Western worldviews, he uses a holistic assessment method developed with Indigenous Teaching and Learning Specialist, Lorna Andrews. This method, derived from the Medicine Wheel and grounded in decolonial theory, entails assessing individuals’ overall progress and understanding across physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual (existential) dimensions, recognizing the interconnectedness of these facets in supporting personal confidence and growth.
    By understanding historical contexts and confronting the conditions of our systems, individuals can develop a greater understanding of contemporary issues and their capacity to attend to and effect positive change—thus becoming accountable for their impact on the world.
    Critical design pedagogy, with its potential to advance deeper reflection in education and practice, plays a pivotal role in enabling this awareness and responsibility.